Perpetua, Felicity and their Companions, Martyrs at Carthage, 203
Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.
This is one of the ‘I am sayings’ of Jesus Christ. In the previous verses (Verse 35) Jesus had told his audience that he is the bread of life. Now in verses 53 -63 he further makes a bold claim that for someone to have eternal life he should eat his flesh and drink his blood. This must have shocked the first century Jewish audience to hear someone promoting cannibalism. Even drinking blood was not allowed in the Jewish context and what Jesus was saying to them was a taboo. However, they failed to comprehend that Jesus was speaking of spiritual flesh and drink as opposed to physical flesh and blood. We know that food and drink have the role of sustaining life and Jesus is talking of someone that supersedes our food and drink because it sustains life beyond the physical. What is eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking his blood. Yes, in the catholic tradition it is the receiving of the Holy Eucharist but what is it that underlies in the receiving of the Holy Communion? Belief (faith) is the key word here. If one receives Holy Communion without faith then it becomes meaningless like what Paul says in 1 Corinthians. Therefore, to eat His flesh and to drink His blood means to believe on Him. As we journey in the Lenten period let us pray for faith in Jesus Christ. Amen.
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou
hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all them that are penitent:
Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we worthily
lamenting our sins, and acknowledging our wretchedness, may
obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and
forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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